\ ˈjak How to pronounce jack (audio) \
plural jacks

Definition of jack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a jacks plural in form but singular in construction : a game played with a set of small objects that are tossed, caught, and moved in various figures
b : a small 6-pointed metal object used in the game of jacks
2a : a playing card carrying the figure of a soldier or servant and ranking usually below the queen
3 : any of various usually mechanical devices: such as
a : a usually portable mechanism or device for exerting pressure or lifting a heavy body a short distance
b : a device for turning a spit
4 : a female fitting in an electric circuit used with a plug to make a connection with another circuit
5a : man usually used as an intensive in such phrases as every man jack
b often capitalized : sailor
c(1) : servant, laborer
(2) : lumberjack
6 : something that supports or holds in position: such as
a : an iron bar at a topgallant masthead to support a royal mast and spread the royal shrouds
b : a wooden brace fastened behind a scenic unit in a stage set to prop it up
7a : any of several fishes especially : any of various carangids
b : a male donkey
d : any of several birds (such as a jackdaw)
8a : a small white target ball in lawn bowling
b : a small national flag flown by a ship
9 slang : money
10a : applejack
b : brandy
13 US slang : anything at all used in negative constructions In short, Dinger or Homer or whoever it was who wrote the Odyssey didn't know jack about travel.— Steve Rushin


jacked; jacking; jacks

Definition of jack (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to move or lift (something) by or as if by a jack (see jack entry 1 sense 3a) : jack up It meant that we had to jack the aircraft and check out the undercarriage system …— John Revell Over 500 tons of pressure was used to jack the legs of the [Gateway] Arch apart for the last four-foot piece to be inserted at the top.nps.gov
2a : to raise the level or amount of (something) : increase, jack up The company jacked their rates.
b : to increase in intensity, scope, etc. : jack up In the same light, any student has heard of someone taking self-prescribed Adderall to jack their focus for the next big exam.— Zeno Yeates
3a informal : steal "She jacked my pencil" one boy screamed. "But only because he jacked my pen" the girl yelled back.— Jason Kane especially : to steal (a car) A man is accused of stealing from a Bradenton hardware store and then jacking a nearby car … — Giuseppe Sabella
b informal : rob jack a store Droopy was always promising to rob old ladies, but so far had jacked only a pizza delivery man …— Gini Sikes
4 informal : to cause great excitement, enthusiasm, or energy in : jack up Even Phil Mickelson, the Masters champion of a year ago and a three-time winner in 2005, can't jack the audience like Woods.— Gerry Dulac
5 : to hunt or fish for (an animal) at night with a jacklight or similar bright light … if old-fashioned country stores were anything like ours is today, you could find just about any type of gossip you might want, from suspicions about who is jacking deer out of season to the darkest speculation about marital infidelities.Cook's Illustrated
6 informal : to copy or appropriate (something, such as an idea or style) : hijack sense 2a Apparently I'd struck a nerve in that sensitive place called the male ego. In his mind I'd accused him of hip-hop's equivalent of treason—jacking someone's style.— Dream Hampton
7 informal : to hit (a ball) forcefully Five batters later Martinez jacked an upper-deck grand slam off Mark Langston …— Tom Verducci Big Mac turns it up another notch, jacking five homers in his last 11 at-bats to finish with an unreal 70.ESPN … Mickelson took an aggressive line off the tee and jacked a lob wedge over the green.— Alan Shipnuck
8a informal : to grab, shove, or handle (someone or something) forcefully : jack up Behind the building he was greeted by several bruisers looking for blood. "One guy jacked my horn out of my arms and threw it down," he [Ornette Coleman] says.— David Grogan
b informal : to cause injury to (someone or something) : jack up The next week, he jacked his knee in a practice incident …, and it set him back a bit.racerxonline.com
c informal : to beat up or hurt (someone) : jack up Cejudo dropped Cruz with that knee and was jacking him with punches with no real response from Cruz.— Dan Bernstein
d informal : to treat or confront (someone) in a harassing, rough, or overly aggressive and typically unwarranted manner : jack up "I honestly think the only reason I get jacked by the police is because I'm tall and black," said Maurice [St. Cyere], who is 5'9".The Bay State Banner
9 vulgar : masturbate, jack off

intransitive verb

: to hunt or fish at night with a jacklight or similar bright light "… jacking involves the use of a high-powered light and a firearm at night. … Whether you are successful in getting a deer or not, it is an illegal act."— Blaine Henshaw

— see also jacked, jack in, jack into

Other Words from jack


jacker noun

Synonyms for jack

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of jack in a Sentence

Noun I'd buy that watch, but I don't have the jack right now. a Portuguese ship flying the national jack
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tracy also recognized, in working with Spielberg, that top filmmakers have to be a jack of all trades. Scott King, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Use real carved jack-o'-lanterns or invest in artificial pumpkins that can be reused each year. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 9 Nov. 2021 In November 1991, as Halloween jack-o-lanterns rotted atop curbside leaf piles, and the autumn days grew shorter, nearly 5.5 inches of rain fell upon northwest Washington. Leo Deluca, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Oct. 2021 Plant the last Halloween jack-o'-lanterns or Thanksgiving pie pumpkins of the year now. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 July 2021 Allen said the jack-of-all-trades player would concentrate on tight end in 2022. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 2 Apr. 2022 Peterson, a jack of all trades on the field, had the competition in the bag. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27 Mar. 2022 For now, Raigne continues to act as a jack of all trades at the market, and encourages all to come and visit to see what’s inside. Palak Jayswal, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Mar. 2022 The Lakers started James at center Saturday night, alongside a pair of knock-down shooters in Malik Monk and Austin Reaves, a slasher extraordinaire in Russell Westbrook, and Stanley Johnson, a jack of all trades, master of none. C.j. Holmes, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the United States in the 1970s, Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker was ultimately forced to jack up interest rates to unprecedented levels to get inflation under control. Charles Riley, CNN, 8 Mar. 2022 The United States joined Europe and Canada on Tuesday in closing its airspace to Russia — a move Russia has reciprocated, which will likely jack up travel costs. Washington Post, 1 Mar. 2022 Other costs are piling up: 33 countries, including the United States, Canada and European Union members, have closed their airspace to Russian planes — a move that Russia has reciprocated and that is likely to jack up travel costs. Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2022 The utility worried expanding eligibility for low-income customers would jack up prices for other customers. Ray Long, chicagotribune.com, 27 Mar. 2022 The only way to break the wage-price spiral was for the Fed to jack up interest rates and push the economy into recession. Mark Zandi For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 4 Mar. 2022 Many times this happens after a natural disaster, like a hurricane, when local stores and suppliers jack up the price of necessities. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 19 Feb. 2022 With less acceptable malt barley available, breweries might have to jack up beer prices. Hannah Weinberger, Outside Online, 12 Sep. 2014 In fact, the feds say, the company would load up the truck with a customer’s possessions then jack up the price — threatening to auction off the goods unless the customer paid in full. Allie Pitchon, sun-sentinel.com, 19 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jack.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of jack


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 5a


1833, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2

History and Etymology for jack


Middle English Jacke, familiar term of address to a social inferior, nickname for Johan John

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jacitara palm



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Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Jack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jack. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for jack


\ ˈjak How to pronounce jack (audio) \

Kids Definition of jack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device for lifting something heavy a short distance
2 : a playing card with the picture of a young man
3 : a small six-pointed usually metal object used in a children's game ( jacks )
4 : a socket used with a plug to connect one electric circuit with another


jacked; jacking

Kids Definition of jack (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move or lift with a special device We need to jack up the car.

More from Merriam-Webster on jack

Nglish: Translation of jack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jack for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jack


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